All About Jazz

Home » Articles » AAJ PRO

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

532

The Crowdfunding Manifesto for Music

By

Sign in to view read count
Adapted from The Crowdfunding Manifesto on RocketHub.org

Introduction

Welcome to The Crowdfunding Manifesto for Music. The purpose of this article is to educate and inspire you on the strategy of crowdfunding your music project. We define music projects broadly—to include traditional categories such as EPs, full albums, live concerts, music videos, tours, etc—and also fields such as publicity, legal assistance, personal website development, and other music-career related endeavors.

First off, what is crowdfunding? In a nutshell, it is leveraging your network and audience for funds, awareness, and feedback. Crowdfunding is based on the belief that the power of many small contributions in aggregate can become significant. There are a few different variances of crowdfunding—some are purely donation based, others are rewards based. We believe that for the modern musical artist—the rewards-based model offers the most sustainable path to funding projects.

Why are we seeing this phenomenon now? For starters, musicians are more connected to their audience and network than ever before. Modern social networking makes reaching out simple and virtually free, while the costs of music production and distribution have gone down. Meanwhile, the old-guard institutions of music labels, publishing companies, large studios, etc. are in transition. A new revolution is emerging on the grassroots level of the music business. Crowdfunding is the foundation of this New Creative Economy.

What does this mean for you as a modern artist? The tools for funding and publicizing your projects are available right now. This manifesto is here to help you succeed.

The Crowdfunding Manifesto consists of the three pillars of success:

1. The Project
2. The Network
3. The Rewards

Each is equally yet uniquely important. When each pillar is strong, the probability for success grows.

The Project

Every person owes it to him or herself to build something great. Make sure your music project matters—and remember it does not need to be big to be important.

To truly make a dent in the universe, you need passion. Build a music project that is worthy of your time and other people's attention. Crowdfunding success comes from emotional connection—both to the project and to the individual/team leading the project. Stand for something and you will be noticed.

When describing your music-based project—such as an album or music video—be sure to describe why it's important to you. If the why is powerful enough for you, it will likely resonate with others. Be clear on the why.

Make it the best project possible. A compelling project takes both emotional and intellectual effort.

The Network

Crowdfunding is based on trust. A musician's first-degree network—the family and friends—are usually the first contributors because the necessary trust has been established a long time ago. The second-degree network—the fans—jumps in afterwards. They contribute after the right trust signals have been sent—i.e. after enough money is already in the tank, after a robust discussion has emerged, and after intimate communication is in place.

The larger your network and the deeper your relationships with your community and fans, the more power you have. Most small and medium projects can succeed purely from the first and second-degree networks. You likely have enough connections take the first crowdfunding step.

Large projects need the third-degree to fully fund. The third-degree network—essentially consisting of people who have no knowledge of you or your work yet—are the most numerous and financially powerful group. Winning their trust—and thus their hard-earned money—requires work. It requires an introductory message that is personal, authentic, and that strikes an emotional chord. It requires regular updates, complete engagement, and full dedication. It is the ultimate sign of trust to give money to a (near) complete stranger. Your previous work and reputation as a musical artist play a large part in this trust.

It is difficult to predict how much impact the third-degree network will have. Consider it a "wildcard play" that becomes more likely if you have an exciting project or a large first and second-degree network and fan base.

Rewards

One of the key elements of a successful modern crowdfunding music project is the Rewards Menu. This is a list of goods, services, and experiences that funders receive in exchange for participating in your project.

The rewards serve as the foundation for the exchange—enticing fans to contribute at various price points. Having the various price points is key to effectively monetizing your network and fan base. The different levels of rewards let all those who wish to be involved participate in your crowdfunding campaign—based on their financial means.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read "…that wild mercury sound." The Significance of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize AAJ PRO
"…that wild mercury sound." The...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2016
Read Creating An Album Discography at All About Jazz: A How-To Guide AAJ PRO
Creating An Album Discography at All About Jazz: A How-To...
by Michael Ricci
Published: January 8, 2015
Read Banner Advertising: Questions to Ask, What to Look For and Red Flags AAJ PRO
Banner Advertising: Questions to Ask, What to Look For and...
by Michael Ricci
Published: March 15, 2013
Read Upload Your Events to  Jazz Near You AAJ PRO
Upload Your Events to Jazz Near You
by Michael Ricci
Published: May 9, 2012
Read An Open Letter to Musicians: Lemme Hear It! AAJ PRO
An Open Letter to Musicians: Lemme Hear It!
by Dave Sumner
Published: March 20, 2012
Read Publicist? How to Maximize Your Client's Coverage at All About Jazz AAJ PRO
Publicist? How to Maximize Your Client's Coverage at...
by Michael Ricci
Published: January 16, 2012
Read "Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now" Interviews Aaron Goldberg: Exploring the Now
by Luke Seabright
Published: November 24, 2017
Read "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970" DVD/Film Reviews The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit" Catching Up With Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit
by Liz Goodwin
Published: October 4, 2017